Kuznetsova beats Pavlyuchenkova for Kremlin Cup

AP, MOSCOW

Mon, Oct 26, 2015 - Page 19

Svetlana Kuznetsova swept aside a tired Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-1 in an all-Russian final to win the Kremlin Cup on Saturday.

Kuznetsova dominated throughout against Pavlyuchenkova, who acknowledged being exhausted as she played her 10th match in 12 days.

For the two-time Grand Slam winner Kuznetsova, it is her first title in her home nation and comes at her 11th attempt at the Kremlin Cup.

Kuznetsova hailed Pavlyuchenkova, who was struggling for fitness after she won the Generali Ladies tournament in Austria last week, as “a real fighter” for playing through the pain.

Pavlyuchenkova held serve with difficulty in the early stages, but struggled to move around the court and was soon overwhelmed.

From 2-2 in the first set, Kuznetsova won the next nine games as she cruised to victory in 1 hour, 19 minutes.

“It was painful that the final turned out like that, but I am happy that I made the final,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “I could not put any pressure on my left leg when serving, so the serve was not working at all. Plus Sveta was playing great. It seemed everything was going her way.”

It was Kuznetsova’s 15th career title and her first since the Citi Open in Washington last year.

Pavlyuchenkova had been bidding to become only the second woman to retain the Kremlin Cup title, matching the 2004 achievement of Anastasia Myskina, who is now Kuznetsova’s coach.

Top-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia reached the men’s final with a straightforward 6-3, 6-1 win over Russian wild-card entry Evgeny Donskoy.

The big-serving Cilic faced just one break point as he held serve throughout, hitting 10 aces and landing 70 percent of first serves.

In yesterday’s final, he was to face second-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who beat fourth-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-4.